53 Best Practices How To Attract RSS Subscribers


title-rss-best-practicesI’ve heard a lot of people constantly struggling to increase their RSS subscriber count. But before complaining often people aren’t aware there are few very well reasons for such things happening. In this post I wanted to take a research on many different, design related blogs and investigate their best practices how to use RSS buttons, where to place them, how to stand out and make that RSS button easy to notice and use.

First of all you must write regular, valuable and unique content to get attraction! No one likes to read the same stuff over and over again, because they now how and where to get good information. Also don’t write one day about Windows media player and next day about tips how to attract women – have a clear focus, so you can attract people directly interested in your topic and would want to subscribe in return to get more.

Through investigating all those blogs I came to several tips what you could do to increase your RSS subscriber count:

1. Place RSS button above the fold.

Usually RSS button can be found on the top right area, which in my opinion is definitely the best practice. When I am visiting blogs I like, I always look on top right for RSS button and rarely I don’t find it there! Don’t forget about using catchy RSS icon or maybe use textual RSS subscriber count instead of default one.

Place RSS button somewhere near logo or above the header, so people would be able to recognize subscribe button right away!

2. Place RSS button in the sidebar

Yes, you’ve got one RSS button on the top right of your blog, but still there are people, who want some more advanced features or even they don’t know what the heck is RSS! Use words instead of just plain RSS icons in the more descriptive way. Offer people subscription through e-mail and it is great practice to also create separate RSS page, explaining to other visitors, what RSS stands for!

3. Place RSS button under the posts

This tip is one of the most important ones. You must think like new visitor- let’s say it’s the first time you visit blog, read some article you take interest in and after finishing reading it, you think about what to do next? You can scroll through related posts, read comments, but one thing you’ll notice will be RSS subscribe button – asking to you “If you enjoyed this article, consider subscribing to our RSS feed for FREE!!!”. For example, if I would be new reader on that blog, I enjoyed article I read through, I would definitely click on that button and subscribe! All you need to do there is ask and present proposal in eye-catchy way to grab that moment of attention!

I also like using word FREE, because some of the visitors don’t understand this RSS thing so well and word free definitely grabs attention!

Now scroll through all those many different practices and see how it looks on other popular sites. Of course, you always must think about your design and layout dividing accents and colors in smart, professional and good looking way. It is also good practice to use also heatmaps after some time when you change new design to see how design and placements works out for your visitors!

1. CSS Globe


2. Little Box Of Ideas


3. Problogger

Problogger website as professional it is, there are very good “Subscribe to Problogger” section. You have all the most important features there – Subscribe button, individual page explaining what RSS is, if you do not know it yet, Twitter button and subscribe via email field. Everything in one place and above the fold, very good example.


4. SpoonGraphics

Very good solution, subscribe background is in grungy orange color and above the fold top right placement. When you mouseover RSS feed you also can see textual message how many subscribers there are.


5. FreeLance Folder


6. PaintBits

I think this is one of the best solutions, where little RSS button is on top right section, which is easy to find. But also in sidebar you’ll find Updates section, where you can see how many RSS readers there are and again with option to subscribe.


7. SpeckyBoy

RSS icon in Speckyboy’s blog is extremely small, but on dark background that orange icon really stand out!


8. DesignMag

Very clear RSS message with different subscription options all in one place.


9. CSS-tricks

Top right and above the fold as expected – very clear message, for advanced options there are extra RSS buttons in footer.


10. Digging Into WordPress

Notice how only thing in sidebar with dark orange background is RSS subscribe section, which makes it great, yet subtle accent since every article title is styled the same way.


11. Mac Appstorm


12. Ars Thanea Blog

Something a little bit different, though I think it would be better if at least mouseover would be in orange RSS descriptive way.


13. Phodana Media

Just mouseover RSS feed button and get advanced feed options.


14. Design Bombs


15. I Love Colors

Unique 3D RSS box and really nice rollover effect and good thing is RSS button is easily observable.


16. GoMediaZine

Here you’ll find RSS butons in two places as well – I think it’s a really good habit.


17. IconDock

Simply a little bit lifted out RSS button creating subtle and elegant accent.


18. MonoFactor


19. Line25


20. EPaper Central

Dark background and three bright buttons easily approachable and understandable!


21. Pro Blog Design


22. CopyBlogger


23. Design Disease


24. Viget Extend


25. Coda Blog


26. Creative Briefing


27. Oliekav

Dirty grunge style design with interesting approach, where RSS subscribe button is sort of combined together with logotype.


28. Viget Labs


29. Vectips

One of the rare examples where RSS buttons aren’t in above the fold section, but somewhere middle. Different approach also not by using classic orange color, but green one.


30. Cats Who Code

Very good example with two RSS buttons, where first two links on the top are in orange color, describing RSS and also there is counter to see how much people actually have been subscribed.


31. Catalyst Studios


32. Gisele Jaquenod


33. FreeLance Switch


34. Kohette

Scroll down the page, but RSS button always hang on top right welcoming new readers to subscribe.


35. Kultur Banause


36. Sparklette


37. Natalie Jost


38. Veerle’s Blog


39. Web Design Ledger

There are two RSS button placements on this site as well. Above the fold and in sidebar!


40. Blog What Design


41. N.Design Studio

Sometimes with such small RSS icon can be enough.


42. PSD Rockstar


43. Branded07

Everything in this site is really gorgeous and professional, but I really think they should create those RSS, Twitter buttons more appealing in order to get more subscribers. I like rollover though.


44. Adii Rockstar

On the left side Adii keeps the most important things like logo, description, projects and welcoming RSS subscribe button which is light grey standing out on the dark background.


45. Macalicious


46. NorthxEast


47. We Function


48. Digital Photography School


49. Just Creative Design


50. SmashingMagazine


51. NetTuts

I consider this as good RSS displaying way – simple options and button above the fold and scrolling a little bit down, you’ll get to expanded RSS options, explanation link what RSS is and actual subscriber count!



52. Noupe


53. Tutorial9


53 Best Practices And Tips How To Get New RSS Subscribers


  1. jin

    Hello I just want to ask you if it is okay to add my rss feeds on forum signature? Can I attract subscribers on it?

  2. A great resource. Stumbling it.

    But where can i find some good looking feed counters? and how can i set them in a category menu (nav menu)?

    best wishes…

  3. greven

    Haven’t seen this list before. Really nice list. Thanks a lot for including Paintbits Dainis. :)

  4. Great post I will be making changes to my blog in the up coming weeks and will be using this post when it come time for the rss.


  5. chris

    In my opinion rss should be place after the post and in the sidebar. Which is very often display and more visible to readers.

  6. Great tips, the most annoying thing in the world is to find a great blog and then to have to hunt around the whole site for the RSS feed. This happens a lot more times than you would think.

  7. Gabriel Scofield

    thanks for the info…I have now added another more visible button since my main button is a little hidden for a new blog reader to recognize.

  8. John Samuel

    I have seen a lot of creativity for the subscribe button. Thanks for this exhaustive list.

  9. Decent Banners

    Do you think it is necessary to show the no. of subscribers on blog?

    Because if ones blog has only few subscribers it will give a wrong impression to others that his blog is not active, or not interesting…etc.

  10. Excellent. This Post is put together well. I think the simpler the better for RSS buttons. If it is “over designed”, the link could be missed as it won’t be identifiable.

  11. There are many, many ways of configuring an to look and feel of your rss subscription button for maximum appeal. You have given me a lot to consider in that regard and indicated a ton of ways it may be done citing some great examples.

  12. Not quite sure this qualifies as 53 best practices, versus 50 examples of how people link to their RSS. ;-) Regardless, I enjoyed it. Hoping you’ll have a follow up about how to get more RSS subscribers through off-site means (I mean how to drive them to your site by doing things not on your site). You could have the most awesome RSS button and placement but if readers don’t get the extra push to subscribe or have some sort of call-to-action then it kind of falls flat.

  13. DlibrarieD

    Really good find. Lot of work there. Added to bookmarks.
    And it`s one interesting thought about “get more RSS subscribers through off-site means”, worth to think of.